Trayon White and LaRuby May are running for the Ward 8 seat. (Courtesy Photos)
Former Ward 8 D.C. State Board of Education member Trayon White overwhelmingly won the endorsement of the Ward 8 Democrats, recently. White got 135 votes for the Ward 8 Democrats’ nod while D.C. Council member LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) received 50 and the lesser known opponents, Aaron Holmes, Maurice Dickens, and Bonita Goode had eight, two and zero votes, respectively.
White was elated at receiving the political club’s stamp of approval. The Ward 8 Democrats are known for having a large influence on political elections in the city. “I feel great, it is a blessing to get the support of the Ward 8 Democrats,” White told the AFRO. “We just have to continue to work to get every vote we can before Election Day.”
The endorsement was the product of a straw poll on May 14 at Anacostia High School. Any registered Democrat living in Ward 8 had the right to vote in the poll and the results were tallied by members of the D.C. Democratic State Committee. Ward 8 Democrats President Charles Wilson told the AFRO that in order for a candidate to get the organization’s endorsement, they would need 60 percent of the votes cast. On a percentage basis, White got 68 percent while May got 25 percent.
Earl Weaver, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens, is a firm White supporter. “He understands the needs of returning citizens and he is also able to bring the youth out. No other candidate in the race can reach the youth the way Trayon can,” Weaver told the AFRO.
The Democratic Party primary for the Ward 8 D.C. Council seat will be held on June 14. The winner of that primary will have no problem winning the position in the November 8 general election because the Democrats have a 10-1 voter registration advantage over the Republicans.
The race is essentially a rematch between White and May. May barely won the April 23, 2015 special election to replace the late Marion S. Barry Jr., as the Ward 8 council member, defeating White by 78 votes in a field with numerous candidates.
In this race, White is running with the support of the unofficial political operation of D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and some backers of former D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. May is one of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s strongest allies on the council and is a beneficiary of Bowser’s informal political and financial organization.
While May has received the endorsements of such organizations as National Nurses United, AFSCME, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and Democrats for Education Reform, White has been tapped by Jews United for Justice, the D.C. Latino Caucus, and Marion C. Barry, the son of the late council member and four-term mayor.
In addition to the straw poll, there was an approximately 90-minute candidates’ forum held in the Anacostia High School auditorium before 200 people that was moderated by 8A04 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Troy Donte Prestwood. White, Holmes, Dickens, and Goode focused on such issues as affordable housing, crime, and economic development. May did not attend the event.
May was the keynote speaker at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development commencement that morning but some of her competitors took her to task for missing the forum. May received her master’s degree in community counseling and psychotherapy from the university.
“The fact that she is not here shows what she thinks of you,” Holmes said to some scattered boos in the audience. “You cannot just buy this seat.”
Dickens also commented, saying, “she’s been MIA like she has been the last 20 months.”
However, May told the AFRO May 16, “I have a lot more to do as the Ward 8 council member. I want to focus more on economic development, education, employment and all of the issues that affect the people of Ward 8.”
May supporter Absalom Jordan, the advisory neighborhood commissioner for 8D03, said it was his candidates’ critics and the Ward 8 Democrats leaders who are out of order. “LaRuby made the commitment to speak at George Washington University long before this event was scheduled,” Jordan told the AFRO. “We were notified about this event a few weeks ago. They should have re-scheduled this meeting because she was speaking at George Washington. A Black woman out of Ward 8 at George Washington University is a real honor.”